Fiat Chrysler recalls 703,000 vehicles in US over faulty ignition switches

About 703,000 Fiat Chrysler SUVs and minivans would need to go back to the shop to fix malfunctioning ignition switches that could cause unexpected stalling of the vehicles.

Chrysler had also warned owners to remove everything but the ignition key from their key rings until repairs could be made.

The switches could turn from "on" to the "off" position on bumpy roads, causing the engine to stall without warning. In case that happened it would knock out power steering and brakes, which could cause a crash.

It could also disable the air bags, according to documents posted Friday by the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

The recall, which came as the second repair for many of the vehicles for the same problem, covered Dodge Journey SUVs, Chrysler Town and Country and Dodge Caravan minivans from the 2008 through 2010 model years.

According to Chrysler's documents it would replace the faulty switches, but the parts were being manufactured and would not be available until at least April.

Until then, the key rings needed to be cleared because swinging keys could make the switches more prone to change position.

The problem was similar to one that forced General Motors to recall 2.6-million small cars last year. The faulty switches caused crashes that killed at least 57 people and injured at least 104 others.

According to Fiat Chrysler, it expected to start replacement of the defective ignition switches for the 2008-2009 minivans and SUVs in April and the 2010 vehicles in August.

Some of the vehicles had previously been recalled for the same issue.